What I always expect from a big city. It's the crowd. It's the amusement. It's that you don't have the feeling of must have your own vehicle. It's that you can always take public transportation. It's that a car is an option, not a must. It's when you're done your long day you can sip a cup of coffee and you can just sit there and stare at people in the street in front of you. Or when it's Friday, and you want to celebrate it just because it's Friday. It's you have the work, and you have the play. It's when you are busy, and then you can relax. It's when you can give a gift to yourself-a new dress, a new pair of shoes, or a new perfume, or a new lipstick with a colour you have never had-without having to make a special trip to a certain kind of shop.
Nagoya is not a perfect city, but many aspects of it remind me of what I expect from a big city. I realized this as I sat on the second floor of Starbucks in trendy Sakae that rainy day--sipping my chai tea, watching people walking and cars keeping their reasonable speed as small rain poured down. Colourful umbrellas decorated the view. Slender ladies in nice skirts and nice blouses racing with the rain, so did fashion-criminals whom you would likely see every part of Japan (and maybe all over the world) keeping their pace regardless those high heels and super short pants in that kind of weather.
The city is populated, but reasonably populated. This is not like any big city at home at all. Not to mention with all the trendiness and the luxuries, and yet you can still breath clean air. You can still have a space between you and another person you pass or meet in your way.
This is the city they say Japan's fashion-leading city. Although there are always two kinds of fashion - classy and skanky. Classy is when you get it right and skanky is when you get it wrong. Short skirts are nice. High heels are nice. Ruffles are nice. Lace is nice. Even net stockings are nice, if you know when to wear them. But imagine you wear those supposedly nice things altogether at a time: a pink hat, a ruffled blouse, a blue jeans jacket, a short flowery skirt, a pair of net stockings, and a pair of lacey boots -- totally a disaster. And yes, I do so disagree with the skanky part -- to me it is a very very big crime that I sometimes want to sue Crocs to have brought the trend of those crazy rubber sandals which are only nice if you are going to have a shower because here I see girls wearing them even when they're around the city, together with a pair of towel shirt and pants, a pair of black face glasses and dyed-blonde hair. Ah, totally pointless.
Yes, that's Nagoya's crime. Yet, I still forgive it. I can forget it when all I can think of is how I always have a good time there - checking Uniqlo for their newest stuffs, and then Loft to find something useful and cute. Cute is Loft's tag: everything here is cute and colourful. Sometimes you'll be surprised with what you can find in Loft, like I did that rainy day. I left my husband on the second floor of Starbucks, while I checked Tsuruya, Loft, Uniqlo, and Loft again. And my second journey to Loft brought these sweet packages of sweet frozen Thai Montong durian. Awesome! I paid one, together with tantanmen sauce and chocolate-covered coffee beans--all the nice things, and ran to Starbucks, sneakily ate the frozen durian with my hubby, one for each. And the next second we looked at each other, and decided to get some more. So I ran back to Loft, and grabbed all the packages they had. I didn't mean it at first. He wanted me to grab four more packages, and I thought, "Ok, how about four for us and two for his co-workers? At least I know Yusuke loves it." And so I did. But then I left two packages. So I called him. "What do you think?" "Ah well, just grab them all." Forget other people. And so with that I left Loft having no frozen durian packages that day, or perhaps for two days.
And then Tsuruya, in case they have a sale on their nice-and-not-crappy shoes again, which they always do. And sometimes when the weather is good we feel like having coffee in an outdoor seat in Alavis Cafe, just across Loft. They have really yummy desserts, and a very nice cappuccino, the kind that you will forget sugar-even if you like sugar in your coffee like me-because they use very tasty milk which is naturally sweet, the sweetness that comes from the fat.
Yes, this is one of many things I will miss when one day we have to leave Japan: one rainy day in Sakae, watching people from behind a steamy glass window in Starbucks, in their fancy clothes, holding colorful umbrellas. In 名古屋: Old Shopping Place.